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The appeal of India

How do you capture the vibrant colours, the constant movement and the extraordinary subject matter of India? Seasoned traveller Patrick Cullen advises on what to pack and how to capture what you see
Chattri with Man Bathing, Udaipur, oil, 17x22in (43x56cm). Completed on site over four mornings, approximately two hours each session. Chattri is Hindi for one of the cupolas or pavilions of which one finds many in India. They are mainly decorative rather than functional. Most mornings there would be a couple of men bathing, which added a human interest to an idyllic subject. The reflections of the chattri, broken by the bather’s disturbance of the water, add movement and abstraction to an otherwise tranquil scene


Ifirst went to India in 2002, to Bundi, a relatively small city in the middle of Rajasthan. On the morning I arrived the sky was a crystal azure blue and the sunlight lit every surface with an intensity that made you blink. What astounded me most was that these surfaces were invariably strongly coloured. At least half the houses were various shades of blue, mostly a gorgeous light ultramarine, shifting towards violet in the shade. Others were closer to a chalky cobalt blue with the occasional surprise of a turquoise house. Against this backdrop of soft blues much fiercer colours weaved and danced. Indians love yellow, and reds and oranges too, but the frequency of yellow struck me – strong cadmium yellow singing against chords of sundrenched blues.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our June issue with plenty to inspire artists in all media. Watercolourists will love Amanda Hyatt's Five Steps to Watercolour technique with a 10-minute exercise to try, Ann Blockley's invitation to let go of reality and get creative with the medium, Jean Haines' advice on how to paint white flowers, while Julie Collins shows how adding ink can create definition and impact. For inspiration for oil painters don't miss cover artist Jason Sacran's step-by-step self-portrait, Patrick Cullen's article on painting in India and Paul Brown's advice on using just six colours to paint a landscape. For acrylic painters we have Michael Kidd talking about his stylised acrylic compositions, Jo Quigley's demonstration on how to paint successful reflections in acrylics and Marie Antoniou on how to transform a dull photo into an interesting painting, while Barry Herniman demonstrates the versatility of the under-used medium of gouache. With all this and much more, why not try a new medium or technique in the coming weeks under the guidance of our fantastic contributing artists!